Wiltshire

Residents to be told to stop recycling plastic by council

Wheelie bins and recycling boxes
Image caption Swindon Borough Council wants to burn plastic along with other rubbish rather than sending it abroad for recycling

A council's plans to tell residents to stop recycling plastics have been described as "extraordinary" and "wrong" by a trade body.

Swindon Borough Council wants to burn plastic along with other rubbish rather than sending it abroad for recycling.

Councillor Maureen Penny said some plastic sent abroad "isn't properly recycled" and the council wants to "know where every bit" of it goes.

The Recycling Association said it was "absolutely the wrong way to go".

The council intends to tell residents to stop separating plastics for recycling, and throw them in with general waste bin rubbish.

Ms Penny, the council's cabinet member for the environment, said it will be a temporary measure.

"A lot of the plastic we collect, it's not recyclable, and because we collect all plastic in one bag we have no way of distinguishing what's good and what's bad," she said.

"So it all goes abroad and those markets are one by one closing their doors to plastic."

'Extraordinary decision'

She said by processing plastics with other black-bag waste the authority could "take control of where our plastics end up".

"We are the only people in the UK to recycle their household rubbish through a solid recovered fuel plant," she said.

"So we made the decision we would start recycling it [plastic] through that plant to change it into fuel."

Simon Ellin, from The Recycling Association, said it was an "extraordinary decision" for the authority to make.

"We don't have enough capacity in the UK and we do have to export a lot of our materials but if you collect it properly - and Swindon haven't - than you have unlimited markets," he said.

"If you don't do it properly and you jumble it all together than you're not going to find a market. Swindon haven't done it properly."

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